Thursday, April 30, 2009

Validating Lunatics

In my previous post on Liberals I Don't Like, I said I was too lazy to find examples of what I was talking about. Well, it didn't take long to find some. I had complained of liberals who "insist that we shouldn't highlight Republican absurdities because it just gives them more attention; and thus, more power."

And in a Carpetbagger post on Obama mocking Fox News and their teabag revolution, commenter ScottW writes:
Mr President, quit wasting your breath with these clowns, you are only giving them validation when they should be ignored for the lunatics they are.
And after I pointed out how wrong this was, ScottW writes back saying:

See the thing is, there is a whole world I would know little about, like the Fox News world, but since half the stories I read here involve them, it's really hard to ignore.
For example, the post before this one. Who the hell is Byron York, but today I should care because it's a post on a site I read regularly. How many people linked to his post, that to me is validation from someone who should have went unnoticed.
When the president does it, it's way worse. I think you are confusing validation of nobodies, with ignoring world leaders, not the same.

But this is just wrong. First off, Fox News aren't "nobodies." They're the most watched cable news network, and anyone who doesn't already know about the "tea parties" doesn't watch Obama press conferences.. Byron York is a published author with his own Wikipedia page, was a Whitehouse Correspondent, has written for numerous magazines, appeared on numerous TV shows, and a Yahoo search of his name turns up over one million results. Call me crazy, but I don't think he's a "nobody." Is he Doctor Biobrain famous? No, but he's about as famous as you can get with the first name Byron.

And so when we mock someone like York for writing racist absurdities, we're not "validating" him by making him more important than he is. We're showing how toxic these otherwise mainstream people are. When Obama mocks Fox News for supporting teabaggers, he's undermining their legitimacy. And by highlighting their absurdities, we make them accountable for what they say.

Seriously, could anyone reading Washington Monthly somehow imagine York is more legitimate for having suggested that the opinion of black people isn't valid? Surely not. He's a laughingstock and we all get it. And I, for one, was glad to have read Carpetbagger's piece on it and immediately told my wife about it. That's what it's all about.

Mockery as Validation?

And the confusion that people like ScottW have is that you CAN validate these people, if done incorrectly. Specifically, if we take absurd arguments and treat them seriously. For example, if instead of labeling York's racism as racism, Carpetbagger had attempted to refute the argument by showing that the opinion of black people is also important; that would have validated York's egregious statement. But simple mockery and outright labeling York as a toxic figure who spouts racist nonsense only undermines him.

And as I replied back to ScottW, the idea of this is absurd. Mockery is NOT validation, lest we believe that school bullies are "validating" the nerds they mock. And sure, there can be some amount of validation involved. It can be argued that Obama validated "Joe the Plumber" by answering his question on the campaign trail, but it's hard to suggest that Obama had much of a choice. Moreover, Mr. the Plumber is a disgrace to Republicans, made worse by their ignorance of how bad he makes them look. I'm of the opinion that the more folks can see of Republican crazies, the better.

And I don't know about you, whenever I say something stupid, I'd prefer to be ignored. And conservative jerkoffs like Limbaugh and York are like cockroaches who prefer to work in the dark. They already have their audience, so it really helps for us to bring attention to what they're telling these people. Exposing loons as being the laughingstocks they are can only be a good thing.


Anonymous said...

But, if Obama mocks Fox, they might start reporting negatively about him. Oh, wait, never mind.

BTW, where has Joe the Plumber gone? Is he snaking a drain in Boise?

Donald Douglas said...

Actually, your previous post is "Arlon"!

You should say my "earlier post," on the liberals. But hey, it's easier to just forget about it, I'm sure - "Arlon," that is!

Good old Reppy gave your defense the Old College Try! And DLB struck out too at my page. But at least we see the merry nihilists banding together!

Whoo hoo! Now if you could just add Alex the Gay to the blogroll!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Donald, I struck out when you refused to respond to my comments at your original posting. And then, you did not make comment at my posting at my blog about your post. Then, at the grandchild of the original post yesterday, you refused to even address the original issue and just went off on how morally superior you are because you are a right winger. Congratulations!

BTW, please stop obsessing about Alex. You're not butch enough for him.

Spocko said...

Dear Dr: I like the way you think. I think it takes multiple methods to make an impact on these people. I don't ignore them and when I do get them publicity I want it to lead to problems for them. All PR is not good PR. Ask Michael Vick.

The Spocko Method involves ensuring the money people who support these people are aware of how sick these people are. You don't tie your brand to sick crazy people. That is why Nike dropped Vick.

It's not just following the money. It's reaching the people to and giving a good reason to walk away from sponsorship. The right will get more and more extreme and we should use that craziness to make them fiancial priahs. They might still be popular but when the cost a company money the company won't work as hard to support them.

Also, giving people on our side info to mock others with helps with the defunding process. Laughing stocks that are unintential are useful. Showing their blantant lies also helps when the try to pretent the are journalists.

Spocko said...

Sorry for the typos iPod touch still getting used to it. See you at Digby's Place.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Spocko - It's not something I've really made public, but I never visit Digby anymore. Maybe things have changed, but I realized that Digby no longer had a message that was relevant to me, so much so that I was generally disagreeing with most of what I was reading. And after my computer crashed and I lost my old RSS subscriptions, I never resubscribed on my new computer and stopped visiting there all together.

And the reason is that Digby represents the type of liberal who is besieged upon and fighting against an oppressive majority. And so it made sense for me to be there back when Republican dominance was the name of the game, as it helped me better understand what was going on. But as Republicanism began to wane, we needed a different sort of message; yet Digby didn't change. And at this point, we're the powerplayers in dominance and need to act like that, yet Digby is still portraying us as the oppressed minority.

And overall, I still like Digby and everything and appreciate everything I learned there, but Digby taught lessons on how not to get your ass kicked. But at this point, we need people to teach how to kick ass. And that's just not something I was getting there, and every post was making me feel like we were still losing. But perhaps I should go back and check. It's been a few months since I've been back, so perhaps I could read more positive messages than the stuff I was reading before.

Thus said, Digby is still a top blogger in my book, simply for being the first blogger to add me to their blogroll. That's still one of my biggest sources of hits.